This is the fifty-fourth chapter of an ongoing series. This chapter continues the story of Rob Ballinger's life after his arrival in Los Angeles in the summer of 1972.
Thanks again for all your comments on this series. I always appreciate hearing from readers and try to answer all messages promptly. If I'm slow at times it is only because of the pressure of work or my somewhat demanding travel schedule.
Andrew has continued to give much needed proofing and editorial help, for which I am sincerely grateful. I could not post chapters as quickly as I've been doing without his invaluable assistance.
This work is copyrighted © by the author and may not be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the author. It is assigned to the Nifty Archives under the terms of their submission agreement but it may not be copied or archived on any other site without the written permission of the author.
All the stories I've posted on NIFTY can be found by looking under my name in the NIFTY Prolific Authors lists. If you'd like to receive e-mail notification of subsequent postings, please let me know by sending your request to the e-mail address below.
I woke to the soft light of Tuesday shining gently through the slats of the Venetian blinds. A cool breeze was blowing through the slightly open window. Hank lay beside me, warm, naked, curled into a comma, and I was curled into him.
Nice, I thought, reveling in the presence of another person in my bed, the intimacy of another human body, a hard, muscular male body next to mine.
The sweet scent of the newly washed sheets, still smelling of laundry soap, mingled with the acrid odor of stale sweat and spent sex. All told it was a heady mix, a fragrance certain to prompt arousal.
"Um," Hank sighed as I moved a little, coming awake, pressing into him.
My cock was already hard, already happily wedged in the cleft of his ass, damp, hot, slick. I moved again. Yes, I was awake. Yes, I remembered the ecstasy of the preceding night, the meeting of our eager bodies, the culmination of the slow beginning and the frantic end.
"Um," Hank sighed again. "Got rubbers?"
"Yeah," I said, rolling over and opening the drawer of the bedside table. Putting them there with the lube had been an act of audaciousness, a declaration of hope. Little did I know I'd need them so soon.
I'd envisioned myself rolling onto my side and reaching for the strategically placed supplies, the confident stud, the experienced lover. Now, with the need at hand, I fumbled like a kid having sex for the first time, awkward, nervous.
I rolled onto my back and spread lube down the length of my cock. It was hard and pulsing and in as big a hurry as I was. I tore open the packet and tried to roll the condom down my shaft. It wouldn't go. There I was, trying to look like the knowledgeable stud and nothing was working.
Hank rolled over and looked at me. He swatted my hands away from my cock, said, "let me," and took over. As soon as he'd begun to roll the condom down my shaft he laughed. "You got the fucker inside out."
He reversed it and got it into place, spread more lube over its length, moved over onto his back and spread his legs.
"Okay, Robby," he grinned.
"My boyfriends and I didn't use them," I said, trying to explain my mistake.
"And he lived to tell the tale."
"Yeah, I know." He was talking about syphilis, probably. In 1972 we hadn't heard of AIDS.
"Now," Hank hissed as he lubed his ass, sticking two fingers in and twisting them.
I knelt between his legs, lifted them onto my shoulders and slid right in.
"Oh, yeah," Hank moaned.
"Hard, man, hard."
I pounded into him.
We were both groaning and his body was humping mine.
It wasn't as if we'd talked about it. If was Hank who'd said we should take it slow.
It went on an on. Neither of us seemed in danger of coming too soon and we rode it like a surfer rides waves, one after another, going fast, then slow, then fast again.
I was in him all the way, then pulling out until the flair of my cock head was stopped by the tight ring of his sphincter, then riding him all the way in again. I'd thought the morning air was cool but we were both sweating like we'd run three miles. I guess we had run three miles.
The rhythm was relentless. Hank wanted more. I was concentrating on what he wanted, which was to be fucked as hard as I could fuck. I hadn't even thought about coming until it was too late.
"Oh, fuck," I groaned.
I filled his ass. I shot so long I thought I'd hit some sort of multiple orgasm, the kind you read about in books.
Hank's ass was contracting. My cock was doing its thing. Hank was shooting his own seed about three ways at once.
The clean sheets were no longer clean.
"Yeah," Hank moaned again.
I collapsed onto him and we both just lay there breathing hard.
Finally, when we'd both settled down, he reached up and stroked my hair. It was wet and plastered to my head.
"Oh, man," he chuckled, "talk about getting the new day off to a roaring start!'
I pulled out of him and rolled to the side, the condom ballooning. I collapsed onto my back and Hank rolled over me lowering his lips to mine. Our mouths tasted foul but we kissed anyway, softly at first, but soon deeply, not caring that our breaths smelled like shit.
He rolled off me and we both laughed again.
"What a blast," I groaned.
"What a fuck," Hank laughed."
"So do you want to take a shower?"
We rolled out of the rumpled bed and I led the way to the bathroom. It was only when I saw my reflection in the mirror that I realized that the spent condom was still hanging obscenely from my half-hard cock. I grabbed a Kleenex and pulled it off, tossing the wet wad into the wastebasket.
Hank just stood there smiling and looking at me as I started the shower and adjusted the water temperature. When it was ready I nodded and we both stepped in. I grabbed a cloth and the soap and lathered his body. His smooth chest was chiseled and his abs were hard.
"You work out, Hank." I said, not a question, an observation.
"Yep, two or three times a week."
"ABS on Vermont."
"No kidding? That's were I go, too. Mornings."
"Evenings, after work." Hank said, then added with a grin, "I missed last night" We laughed.
"We should find a time to work out together." I said.
"I thought we just did."
His body was hot. His cock was already hard and I wanted it.
"Can you come again?"
"Probably, Rob, you really turn me on."
I worked my way down his body, kissing his neck and moving my open mouth over his chest, loving the taste of him. I found his left nipple and sucked on it. He responded with moans and, figuring tit play turned him on, I went for it, licking, sucking, then biting down on the hard nib of flesh. He moaned again.
"Yeah, oh yeah."
Okay, so he liked a little pain. I bit down harder with my teeth until I felt as if I'd make him bleed but he never drew back or asked me to stop. I moved to his right tit and did the same while I continued to squeeze his left nipple between my fingers. He was loving it, moaning, pushing his chest out to give me better access. As I bit down on his right tit with enough force to cause real pain, I pinched his left tit between my fingers, digging my trimmed fingernails into it until I really suspected I would make him bleed. His groaning was continual but I moved on.
I wanted all of him. Kneeling there in the bathtub, I took his hard, wet cock into my mouth, holding the head of it just inside my mouth while I ran my tongue over it again and again, bathing it with my saliva. Hank leaned back against the tiled wall of the bath enclosure and let me do what I wanted. I loved the shape of his cock, long, cut, straight. I took more in, felt it pulsing against the roof of my mouth and settled into a slow, easy pace, happy to take my time, but determined to get him off. We were both spent but I knew we'd get there.
I moved my hands around to hold his butt, letting my fingers sneak into his crack, stroking the bud of his ass, finally fingering him a little, then awkwardly reaching for the soap so I could slick him up and get a finger in. His ass was still loose, open from my fucking him.
"Oh, yeah," Hank groaned.
I'd relaxed enough to get the head of his cock beyond the gag point into my throat. I loved the feel of it. My knees on the hard porcelain of the tub were killing me. I grabbed a towel and positioned it so I could kneel on it. It was suddenly fully wet and spongy and it squeaked under my knees as I moved. I had his cock deep in my throat and two soapy fingers in his ass. He was moaning big time and my own cock felt as if it were about to explode. I couldn't remember ever being so turned on sucking cock.
"Oh, Rob!" That was all he said but I knew what was coming. I felt his cock swell a little in my throat and pulled back quick so his load would explode in my mouth, not in my throat where I couldn't taste it. He came hard but his load was small. I guess we'd already done it twice but later I kidded him about being an old man.
He tasted sweet and nutty and salty and good.
I let him go soft in my mouth and sucked and licked off the last vestiges of his seed then, standing up again, I kissed him fully on the mouth, leaving my own lips open so he could come in. His tongue darted and we stood there wet and naked, our bodies pressed together while he tasted himself in my mouth.
When we broke the kiss he looked at me and smiled. "Can I get you off?"
"Later, maybe," I sighed.
He washed me as I'd washed him and then turned off the shower. We stood there in the tight space drying each other.
When we went back into the bedroom I looked at the clock by the bed and saw it was almost eight o'clock. I didn't have anything I had to do until I was due to meet with Martin Basingstoke's script writing team that afternoon.
"Are you okay on time?" I asked Hank.
"Yeah, I open the shop at ten and I need to run home and change but I'm okay."
"Look, Hank," I said, pulling some shorts from the dresser drawer. "Let me take a rain check on whatever you had in mind. Let's fix breakfast together instead."
"You're sure? I'd really like to get you off."
"Hey, buddy," I grinned. "You can have your way with me anytime you want, but we do have a date for next Monday, right?"
"Yeah, but that's almost a week." He came over and put his arms around my shoulders, drawing me to him and nuzzled my ear. He was still naked and fresh from the shower, he smelled so good. I felt myself getting head in the shorts I'd just pulled on. "I really want to suck your cock," he whispered.
"Oh, what the hell," I moaned as I let him push me gently back onto the rumpled bed.
"Relax," he whispered as he knelt over me. "Just stretch out there and let me take care of you."
Hank lowered his lips to mine and we kissed gently, feeling no urgency, no need to rush. His tongue ran along my lips and I opened to him. His tongue glided over the edge of my teeth, causing a little ripple of excitement to run through my body. Then he pulled back and looked down at me, a gentle smile on his sharp featured face.
He nuzzled my left ear again, running his wet tongue into it, then backing off, leaving it very wet. He breathed into it, causing me to shiver. He pulled back again and smiled. Then he went to work on my right ear, giving it the same treatment.
He lowered his mouth to my left nipple and sucked it slowly and powerfully, causing it to harden and pulse. I'd never been all that excited by nipple play but I'd figured out he was, so I wasn't surprised when he stayed on my tit for a long time, sucking, licking, nibbling, until finally I began to come alive to what he was doing and an involuntary moan escaped my lips. That was all the encouragement he needed. His front teeth closed on my hardened nib and bit down with no mercy. I felt a shock wave run through me and my cock jumped in my shorts.
Rather than seek relief from the pain, my hands closed around his head, my fingers locking in his hair as I pulled him into my chest, wanting more.
"Oh, yeah," I moaned. With his mouth still locked on my tit, he looked up at me and a little smile creased his lips.
When he moved his mouth to my right nipple he continued to work my left with his fingers, pinching, pulling, sending me nearly over the edge.
I was thrashing on the bed and he showed no signs of stopping. I felt my cock oozing and the dampness spreading over the fabric of my shorts. Then suddenly Hank abandoned my tits and in one swift motion, moved down, pulled my shorts off and dove for my cock. He took it all the way in. He began to swallow quickly, over and over again and in seconds I was exploding is his throat. I don't think I could have had much of a load but I came so powerfully that it was almost painful. My balls ached and the shaft of my cock was sensitive for two or three days. My nipples were also abraded and sore and it was the end of the week before even the friction of a shirt hurt like hell, always reminding me of Hank`s mouth on them.
Hank continued to hold my cock in his mouth as I softened and before he finally released me he licked and sucked the last remnants of my climax, leaving me wet and shiny.
"You okay?" he asked when he finally rose up and looked at me.
"Yeah, wonderful," I sighed.
"You look spent."
"I am spent," I grinned. "Maybe by the time we get together next Monday I'll have recovered."
"Okay then," he smiled as he moved to nuzzle my neck, "no more jokes about old guys."
"Okay, no more jokes."
There was hardly time for a real breakfast but while Hank went back to the shower alone I pulled my shorts back on and fixed us cold cereal, juice and coffee before sending him on his way.
Once alone I pulled the sheets off the bed and took them down to wash. I'd just done them the day before but they were in bad need of another washing. There wasn't much else that needed washing but I added the few white things I had in the hamper to make the best use of the washer load.
I'd have loved to sleep a little longer but didn't dare lie down. I was due at Basingstoke's shop at two o'clock that afternoon and I wanted to spend some time working on the passage I'd been assigned from Call the Dark Waters.
As it turned out, with trips to the laundry room to move my stuff from the washer to a dryer and then going back later to retrieve it and remake the bed, it was after noon before I finished and changed into slacks and a polo shirt.
To my amazement Basingstoke and the others on his team were complimentary, even enthusiastic about what I'd done with the passage he'd assigned me. I had left Bell Corley's words intact but divided them between the narrator, whom she called Marge and a second person, Marge's dead lover, whom she referred to as Brook.
I knew if the film script was organized in that way it would necessitate a reorganization of the story so that the action leading up to the lover's death was told in chronological order, not as a remembrance as in the novel. I supposed the earlier events could also be shown as a flash-back but I didn't deal with those issues when I presented my short section of the story, reorganized as dialogue.
Basingstoke took my typed draft to have copies made for our meeting on Thursday and asked the others who'd been assigned other sections to rework what they'd been doing, following my concept. He also gave me another ten or so pages of the novel to work on.
I wanted to say more about my sense that the entire film needed to be thought through as a whole, including the selection of locations, soundtrack and cinemagraphic style. There was no way to press that point on Tuesday and I already knew it was seen as beyond the scope of the script writing team.
In any case, I left the meeting feeling fairly good about myself and headed home.
Home, an interesting concept. The apartment at Alvarado Court had only been mine for a few days but I was already beginning to think of it as someplace were I belonged.
Well, yes, home, but I didn't stick around. I was there just long enough to get my gym bag and then it was off to ABS for a good workout. Yeah, I'd been in on Monday but that had been to make up for Saturday, which wasn't much of a workout at all because of the weekend crowds.
I hit the weights and then worked up a sweat on the machines, spent twenty minutes in the sauna, which I had to myself, and then stood in the shower cooling down.
It was after six by the time I finished and the place was beginning to fill up with the after work crowd. I kept an eye out for Hank but he'd not shown up by the time I left. If I remembered correctly Billy had classes on Tuesday nights so I didn't expect to see him.
By the time I got home it was almost seven and I was starved. I pulled the left over stir fry from the frig and let it heat slowly in a sauce pan while I went to the bedroom and got out of my slacks and polo shirt and into a pair of loose fitting shorts - nothing underneath, no shoes, no shirt, ready for a quiet evening at home. See, there's that word again.
As I came back from the bedroom I noticed for the first time that the message light on the telephone answering machine was blinking. Had it been illuminated when I came in? I wasn't sure.
I pressed the play button and found one message. It was from Peg Solanski, which was a surprise. She was the most senior member of Basingstoke's team, next to Basingstoke himself, and I'd pretty much figured her for one hard woman.
"Rob, this is Peg," her voice was almost abrasively coming over the little speaker. "Call me when you get in." She gave the number twice.
It could wait, I figured, so I checked my food, which was hot, poured a tall glass of milk, and sat down to eat with Bell Corley for company.
By the time I'd finished eating I'd read a short chapter of Call the Dark Waters and made a few notes on the passage Basingstoke had asked me to work on.
When I'd rinsed my plate and glass and silverware, I called Peg.
She answered on the first ring.
"Rob," she boomed as soon as I identified myself, "describe Brook."
"Brook, Marge's lover."
"Oh, Call the Dark Waters," I responded too slowly.
"Yes, Rob, Call the Dark Waters. Describe Brook."
"Well, I haven't given it much thought. I know at one point Marge says she had dark hair and olive skin."
"Pardon me, Peg."
"You think Brook is a woman."
"So you think Marge and Brook are a pair of dykes?"
"Yes, don't you?"
"Yes, damn it, I do."
"Well, Mr. Ballinger, I'd say we're fucked."
"I sort of thought that when Dex Cohen told me Basingstoke's team was working on the Corley novel.
"You met Cohen?"
"Yeah, one of my professors at Ole Miss is a friend of his."
"Well, pretty boy, I guess you've not also met Bell Corley, have you?"
"She's the other reason we're fucked."
"You have met her?"
"Yes, barely. But I know enough about her to know she is very much into the artistic integrity thing."
"She'd never, and I mean never, allow us to turn Brook into a man."
"No, I suppose not," I said. "It would completely change the nature of the book."
There was a long pause, so long that I eventually said, "Peg, are you still there?"
"Yeah, I'm here. I'm just silently seething."
"Okay, what do we do now?"
"We move on to Plan B."
"Can you be in my office tomorrow morning at ten?"
"Sure, Peg. I'll be there."
That evening I fell asleep rereading Call the Dark Waters. I was sitting in the Stickley library chair with my feet propped up on the footstool. I woke about four the next morning with a very stiff back and limped off to bed for the rest of the night.
"Okay, here's the deal," Peg said when her little self appointed subcommittee was assembled.
Beside myself and Peg there were two other people there that morning.
Larry Bridges was a member of Basingstoke's team, a man in his late thirties or early forties who looked a lot like Mister McGoo.
To my complete surprise the fourth person was May Wright, Dex Cohen's assistant. I would soon learn first hand about the legendary power of the executive assistant in Hollywood.
"May," Peg began, "I called your attention to Call the Dark Waters and you went to bat for it with Cohen, convincing him to buy the rights for NSB."
"But you don't think he ever actually read the book?"
"I gave him the one page summery you'd written, Peg. I don't think he knows any more about the book than what you gave him."
"That it's a story about a woman mourning for her lover, no mention of whether the dead flame is male or female, or animal, vegetable or mineral for that matter. Right?"
"Well, yes," May responded. "I think it was the literary acclaim that appealed to Dex. He figured with the book winning the Chessman Prize, it would be a real perk for the studio."
"But if the project goes down in flames it's our butts that are going to get bruised."
"Yes," May conceded. "I recommended the book to Dex based on your synopsis of it."
"Okay, sit quietly, kids, and Auntie Peg is going to tell you a story."
She paced the room as she went on. "If we pull this off it'll be Oscar time for all concerned. Basingstoke deserves a chance to make one of his longwinded speeches and the rest of us deserve the chance to stand behind him on the platform and smile. I want one more of those little gold fuckers on my mantle and it sure won't do the rest of you any harm."
"Oh, leave me out, Peg," May said. "I can't be part of the scriptwriting team but I do get my own rewards just for pointing Dex toward a winner."
"Okay, May, but we won't forget the part you're going to play in this little soap opera."
She looked around at us and went on.
"So I guess you are wondering why I didn't ask Martin to our little gabfest. Well, the truth is, he's better off not knowing what Auntie Peg has up her sleeve. He can just sit back and plead innocent. It isn't just politicians who need the right of plausible denial, you know."
"And what about Langston?" Larry asked.
"Same thing goes for him as well. We keep our bosses out of this."
"So what's your plan?" Larry fired back.
"First, Mr. Ballinger," Peg said, turning to me, "I don't suppose we'll get lucky and you have a passport."
"No," I said, not seeing how it was of any importance, "I've never had a passport. I've never traveled out side the United States."
"Wonderful," she sighed. "How long, May?"
"Ten days," May responded, "a week if we're lucky."
"Well get on it, okay."
"Sure, but let's hear your plan."
"For starters, we do all agree that Mr. Cohen will never green light the project if it's presented to him as a love story about two women, right?"
"Yes," May said, "there's no chance he'd produce it under the NSB name, but I thought you said you could turn it into a story of a woman's loss without getting into the sex of the lover who'd died."
"That was my original plan, but Lover Boy here forced me to think it through. I was so anxious for Basingstoke's team to do the script that I'd been lying to myself all along. It would gut the project if we skirted the issue of the sexuality of the main characters. Even if Bell Corley agreed, it would never approach the power of her novel."
"So you think the only way to convert the story into a movie script is in a way which will guarantee it will never be produced?"
"It can be a powerful script, Larry," Peg said. "It's so subjective that a way of making all those long, poetic narrative passages into dialogue had been eluding me. Yesterday afternoon Robby here came up with a solution to that part of the problem. We just break the passages into dialogue between the lovers. The only problem with that is that we have to face the fact that both of the main characters are women."
"And that version won't fly."
"It won't fly in Hollywood because none of our masters have the balls to just say yes."
"Really, Peg," May stepped in, feeling somewhat defensive of her boss, I guess. "There is the question of public opinion. I just don't see how you think you can get around it."
"You said it yourself, May," Peg replied. "Cohen would never produce it under the NSB name."
"What are you suggesting?"
"I want to work on that script. I want Basingstoke's team to write it. Let's face it, folks, it would be the crowning achievement of his career and it would make the reputation of all the rest of us who work on it."
"But what good will it do to write an Oscar quality script if you can't get it produced?"
"We all agree the film will have to be shot in England, right?" Peg went on.
We did all agree.
"It will have to be filmed on location in England, with British actors."
We all agreed again.
"Okay, NSB owns the rights. We write the script. But before it comes time to film it, we get an offer from a very prestigious British producer. He wants to film it using our script and, in return, will give NSB distribution rights."
"NSB has a distribution subsidiary for foreign films," May offered.
"Yes, but this would be different. You're referring to Bridges Distribution, right?"
"Yes," May confirmed.
"Bridges has bought US distribution rights to foreign made films," Peg said. "What I think we want with Call the Dark Waters is worldwide distribution. NSB could finance the film. It could really be a joint production. We just let the British producer take the lead then we can market it in the US as a daring British film which breaks new cinematographic ground."
"But who is this British producer who is going to jump in and save the day?" May asked.
"Well," Peg grinned, "I don't know yet, but I will know by the time we're ready for him."
"It might work," May said.
"It will work," Peg stated. Then, turning to me, she smiled and said, "you're going to love London, Rob."
To be continued.